The other night we stayed in Brookline on our way to New York.
Boston and Brookline are reference points for this country doctor. I go to Harvard courses for updated knowledge and continuing education credits, and I occasionally refer patients to specialists at Massachusetts General, The Brigham, or Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary.
When down there, we often stay in Brookline, down the street from the Longwood medical area. There is a row of inns that offer housing for families and patients undergoing treatments at the major hospitals. We ended up there once ourselves, referred by Angell Memorial Hospital, when we took our sick dog there, first for a consult, and then for an extended period of radiation therapy.
Angell referred us to the Bertram Inn, which allows dogs (and our Persian cats). Since those first two stays, we have been back to stay at least half a dozen times. Walking the tree lined streets just a few blocks from Beacon Street and Coolidge Corner, I feel like I am in a small town, yet minutes away by car or taxi, we can be at the Symphony or a downtown course or restaurant.
On our early morning dog walks we see residents and medical students hurrying to work with stethoscopes around their necks. There are joggers everywhere. We pass the Lown Cardiovascular Center, named after Dr. Bernard Lown, who pioneered cardioversion for atrial fibrillation. His book “The Lost Art of Healing” from a dozen years ago is a must-read for doctors, particularly now. My patient and mentor, Clarine, who told me from her sick bed to write, and who gave me Thomas Moore’s “Care of the Soul“, also gave me a copy of “The Lost Art of Healing”.
Actually, Thomas Moore himself – a humble man – has said that even titles of books you haven’t read yet can be an inspiration. We attended his seminar on Cape Cod last summer, entitled “Care of the Soul”. We missed a day of that course because of our dog’s illness. That was the summer our dog died, and what we learned from her passing paralleled what we learned from the course.
Sometimes, just spending one night in Brookline gives me a sense that I, living and working in New England, am connected to the Boston medical community. Doing the work we do, day in and day out, especially in a rural community, can make us feel isolated. A night in Brookline is like glancing at the titles of the books on my shelf. You are quickly reminded of what’s inside and it changes you a little every time you reconnect with it.